Juggling a full schedule of responsibilities and facing the obstacle of limited funds, members of the military often find it difficult to simultaneously complete their undergraduate degree.
Yet receiving a diploma is beneficial for many military personnel, helping them advance their military career or get a jump start into another field of interest.
The rise in the presence of online colleges coupled with the new Post-9/11 GI Bill, which has issued nearly $4.8 billion in benefit payments since being passed in 2009 and has offered higher education to nearly 340,000 people, has facilitated the needs of those military undergraduates.
A report by the American Council on Education (ACE) entitled “Military Service Members and Veterans in Higher Education: What the New GI Bill May Mean for Post-secondary Institutions” revealed that military members on active duty who are pursuing an undergraduate education may be more likely to enroll in full-time schooling for a full academic year. Those military students may also be more likely to attend four-year public institutions than past military undergraduates.
An event called the Veteran Success Jam helped encourage the possibilities of this statistic with a national three-day online virtual collaboration that gathered veterans, their families, service members, professors and government leaders to inform them about relevant issues such as finding a veteran-friendly college, earning credit for military training and occupations and physical and psychological health effects of the military and how it might affect the college learning experience.
The Veteran Success Jam also highlighted the benefits of online colleges for military members, emphasizing a 2009 report entitled “Serving Those Who Serve: Higher Education and America’s Veterans.”
The reported showed that military undergraduates choose their college based 75 percent upon location, followed by 52 percent based on program and coursework and 47 percent based on cost. Online colleges offer a solution to the issue of location, allowing military members to work during times off-call at home or on-duty and overseas.
Online colleges also specifically zone in on the program and coursework needs of military personnel. Many online schools hope to attract military students because they support the level of commitment and hard work ethic exhibited by the military. In turn, they offer especially-flexible programs custom fit to the needs of the U.S. military, allowing military members to complete their degrees while still performing their duty to the country.
American InterContinental University (AIU), for example, especially reaches out to the military to provide quality education in fields including business, criminal justice, design, education and information technology. For four years in a row, Military Advanced Education has nominated AIU to be America’s top military-friendly colleges for its constantly-accessible virtual campus.
Other for-profit colleges like Colorado Tech University (CTU) were the choice of 12 percent of military undergraduates, for their convenient location near military bases and strategic military education advantages, including a special military tuition rate, waived application fee, liberty grant applicable to veteran and veteran spouses, a military-friendly deployment policy and eligible military experience offered as transfer credit.
But now CTU offers online degrees, making the military education benefits available to even those military personnel working on a base away from CTU campuses.